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1. The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence.
2. An individual or a part that exhibits atavism. Also called throwback.
3. The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.

[French atavisme, from Latin atavus, ancestor : atta, father + avus, grandfather; see awo- in Indo-European roots.]

at′a·vist n.
at′a·vis′tic adj.
at′a·vis′ti·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.atavist - an organism that has the characteristics of a more primitive type of that organism
organism, being - a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
M2 EQUITYBITES-June 22, 2018-WordPress Parent Automattic Acquires Atavist Publishing Platform and Magazine
EVAN Ratliff wrote in his article 'The Mastermind,' published in the Atavist Magazine, that Le Roux became famous online through engaging in the Internet pharmacy business, specifically selling prescription drugs to Americans.
A recent enlistee, Seyward Darby, executive editor of the Atavist Magazine, wrote a recommendation letter for me graciously.
Using a neo-Marxist historiography--but emphasising archival sources and interviews with septuagenarians and octogenarians 'to strengthen the theoretical scaffolding' (68)--Chatthip's scholarship took an atavist cultural turn when he famously introduced the neo-paleo concept of wattanatham chumchon, or 'community culture'.
The Atavist: ( Whatsoever Things Are True
Since 2008, when the economic crisis further squeezed journalism, those in search of that kind of nourishment have increasingly moved online, with a new cadre of narrative websites--The Atavist Magazine, Narratively, Longform--challenging the conventional wisdom that Web surfers are only interested in reading bite-sized chunks.
"Written in a style that resembles text-based video games or books where you can choose actions for the characters to follow, this cryptic tale explores the separation between symbol and reality," said a press statement released by Atavist.
Publishing platform Atavist ( publishes original nonfiction stories of between 5,000 and 30,000 words, sold individually and by subscription at the Atavist Magazine website (
The following is an excerpt from Operation Red Falcon, by Ronen Bergman, published this week in The Atavist Magazine.
A true-life crime tale based on Josh Dean's article in the Atavist has the star of "Whiplash" marching to its beat.
The Atavist was the evening's sole digital-only winner, taking home the prize for best Feature Writing.